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April 20, 2017


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Dr. Amy L. Sandridge

I disagree with your harsh criticism, Selwyn. The best way for folks to learn about something is to be introduced to it at an early age. If children learn about communism early, they will see for themselves the poor outcomes achieved thus far with that type of system. On the other hand, can people learn not to be slothful? Can they be taught to not have profit as a motive but the well being of the group? Of course they can! It is human nature to share. Additionally, there are experiments along communistic lines being tried in communes, in communities in the Scandinavian countries, and religious communities. Communism is similar to how some families work - especially in the collectivist cultures of the Third World. If we could make Marx and Engel's theories work - wouldn't it be lovely? On the other hand, can this little book change the thinking of enough children to endanger capitalism? "'I doubt it,' said the carpenter, and shed a bitter tear." Still, don't fault MIT Press for trying to change the world into a place where each according to his/her needs and from each according to his/her ability. Their idealism is hardly dangerous. Rather, it is sweet.

A College Student

The problem with the book is that it does not educate. The book does not state anything objectively and is only a propaganda tool for indoctrination of this sociopolitical ideology. Besides, the way students should learn about communism, or really any type of government, is through history classes as history is purely objective (quality of the classes, teachers, and schools is another separate issue).

The reason why Communism (and its former transitory government, Socialism) is not a sustainable system is that it does not grant/protect individual property rights. Individual property rights is the foundation (and arguably equal to human rights) for individual autonomy and fiscal/social prosperity. Without this, there is no basis for individual freedom and the government becomes self-serving. The whole reason why a government exists is to secure the rights of the individual. When you have the inversion of the people serving the government rather than the other way around, eventually there is going to be a collapse.

Engels and Marx's ideology IS dangerous (and immoral) and is only sweet to those that know it can be used as a tool for control.

Selwyn Duke


I'm saddened to see you're advocating something whose adherents — in their utopian zeal — murdered 100 million people during the 20th century. Do you want some of that blood on your hands? Because that's what you'll have if you can successfully encourage Marxism's embrace. Shame on you.

Since you mentioned the family, you may be interested to know that I addressed your very point in the following piece: I suggest you read it.

As to your mentioning communes, they're something else I've studied extensively. The first thing one needs to know is that a commune and communism aren't the same thing. A commune is a physical place, whereas the suffix "ism" denotes a system of belief.

The mistake made when using communes as Exhibit A for the validity of communism is that participation in a commune is voluntary.

Participation in a socialist system is coerced.

People in a commune are, for whatever reason, motivated to be there and to participate in the communal life; they're a small fringe of society. It's silly and childish to expect people forced into a macrocosm of such a model to behave similarly. It's as with the difference between a child who passionately dives into tennis, practicing diligently, and one forced to play who just goes through the motions.

Even so (and, again, I've studied the history of communes), communes don't have a sterling track record. And the secular ones tend to fail miserably.

The reason? In Christian communes — many of which endured for decades — people generally believed they were earning their way to Heaven. They had a strong spiritual incentive. The secular communes were different. With no financial incentive, and no spiritual incentive, there was no incentive at all to be industrious. Thus, people were slothful and the experiment collapsed. Just read about socialist Robert Owen's 19th-century commune in New Harmony, which only lasted two to three years.

When you say that people can be "taught" to be selfless and work for the greater good without expectation of reward, you talk like other dangerous utopians. Oh, I know you mean well, but so did the Kronstadt sailors in Russia. You should read about what happened to them.

Anyway, before you continue advocating this utopian vision, you may want to try and find at least one example where "selflessness" has been inculcated in a whole population to an extent where communism could work. Do you fancy life in Venezuela? Marxism has never worked, anywhere, yet you're still advocating it. Striking. You may want to consider that apocryphal saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

I know we've corresponded in the past, and I believe you're a college professor, if my memory serves. Do try and not conform to the stereotype so closely. It's a bit stale.

God bless,

Selwyn Duke

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